Can We Prove the World Isn’t a Simulation?

You might think we have definitive evidence we’re not in a simulation. That’s impossible. BY DAVID J. CHALMERS How do you know you’re not in a computer simulation right now? This idea is often known as the simulation hypothesis. The simulation hypothesis says simply: “We are living in a computer simulation.” What is it to be living in a simulation? As I understand this notion, it’s all about interacting with the simulation. When you’re in a simulation, your sensory inputs come from the simulation, and your motor outputs affect the simulation. You’re fully immersed in the simulation through these interactions. … Continue reading Can We Prove the World Isn’t a Simulation?

“God is dead”: What Nietzsche really meant

The death of God didn’t strike Nietzsche as an entirely good thing. Without a God, the basic belief system of Western Europe was in jeopardy. “God is dead” remains one of the most famous quotes from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.  The quote is often misunderstood or taken out of context.   Nietzsche was referring to how the Enlightenment had contributed to the erosion of religious beliefs, which had long served as a foundational belief system for much of the world.  by Scotty Hendricks It has been more than 130 years since the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared: “God is Dead” (or Gott ist tot, in … Continue reading “God is dead”: What Nietzsche really meant

Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?

We come to terms with our painful past by extending forgiveness to ourselves By Mark Coleman Mark Coleman is a Northern California-based meditation teacher, author, and founder of the Mindfulness Institute. Since he began teaching nearly two decades ago, he has led meditation retreats across five continents. The following is an excerpt from his newest book, Make Peace With Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic, which teaches how to use meditation practice to soothe our negative inner voices. When I ask a room full of students, “Who hasn’t caused someone harm through their words and … Continue reading Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?

Why you should eat meat

Not eating animals is wrong. If you care about animals, then the right thing to do is breed them, kill them and eat them by Nick Zangwill is professor of philosophy and honorary research fellow at University College London. His books include Aesthetic Creation (2007) and Music and Aesthetic Reality (2015). If you care about animals, you should eat them. It is not just that you may do so, but you should do so. In fact, you owe it to animals to eat them. It is your duty. Why? Because eating animals benefits them and has benefitted them for a long time. Breeding and eating animals is a … Continue reading Why you should eat meat

In ‘Architecture in Music,’ Striking Photos Reveal the Hidden Structures of Instruments

1780 Lockey Hill Cello. All images © Charles Brooks, shared with permission by GRACE EBERT A cellist since childhood, Auckland-based photographer Charles Brooks spent twenty years performing with orchestras around the world, an experience that incited curiosity about the inner workings of the instruments surrounding him. “I never really knew what was going on inside. That was a realm reserved for the luthier. Occasionally, when an instrument was being repaired, you’d get a rare glimpse inside, which was always a thrilling experience,” he shares with Colossal. This interest culminates in Brooks’s ongoing Architecture in Music series, which peers inside pianos, winds, brass, and strings … Continue reading In ‘Architecture in Music,’ Striking Photos Reveal the Hidden Structures of Instruments

Men and women aren’t equal when it comes to concussion

By David Robson Women athletes are twice as likely as men to get concussed – and the effects are more severe. But with research focusing mainly on men, what can we do to make sure women with concussion aren’t left behind? Few sports are as fast and furious as roller derby. The hour-long game unfolds in frenetic two-minute bursts as two teams race anti-clockwise around an oval track. Each team has a “jammer” aiming to pass four opposing “blockers”, and they score points for each opponent they lap. Blockers can obstruct the path with their torso or push opponents off course … Continue reading Men and women aren’t equal when it comes to concussion

Sonic Hieroglyphics and Acoustic X-Ray Vision: The Fascinating Science of How Dolphins and Whales Communicate

How Victorian astronomy helped decode the secret language of the seas. BY MARIA POPOVA “Words are events, they do things, change things… they feed energy back and forth and amplify it,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her uncommon ode to the magic of real communication. “They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” For millennia, we have considered language — the magic-box of words — the hallmark of our species. Only in the last blink of evolutionary time have we begun to override our self-referential nature and consider the possibility that other types of channels might carry … Continue reading Sonic Hieroglyphics and Acoustic X-Ray Vision: The Fascinating Science of How Dolphins and Whales Communicate

My Out-of-Body Experience

In a sensory deprivation tank, I lost my body and found myself. BY JOEL FROHLICH Two years ago, I decided to do nothing. Not for the rest of my life, of course—for two hours. As a neuroscientist, I was already familiar with the evidence that mindfulness meditation, or attending to the present moment, is beneficial for stress and anxiety. So I had been meditating regularly for about a half a year, looking to enhance my practice. And although I didn’t know it yet, there were already scientific studies showing that the more extreme form of “doing nothing” that I was … Continue reading My Out-of-Body Experience

Epilepsy and memory: Why some people have trouble distinguishing past from present

Temporal lobe epilepsy seems to rewire a part of the brain that’s key to storing memories. The dentate gyrus (DG) plays a role in recalling and creating new memories.  The DG is rewired in patients diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).  Patients diagnosed with TLE have difficulty forming memories of new experiences when they are similar to past experiences. by Peter Rogers Most people don’t know they have epilepsy until their first seizure. This initial grand mal (literally, “big bad”) seizure is marked by violent muscle contractions and a loss of consciousness. As you can imagine, an unexpected collapse and … Continue reading Epilepsy and memory: Why some people have trouble distinguishing past from present

Hope is not optimism

Even when you know that prospects are grim, hope can help. It’s not just a feeling, but a way to step into the future David B Feldman is the J Thomas and Kathleen L McCarthy Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University in California. He hosts the KPFA Radio programme About Health and the podcast Psychology in 10 Minutes, and has co-authored books including The End-of-Life Handbook (2007) and Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success (2014). Benjamin W Corn is professor of oncology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, deputy director of the Cancer Center and head of the Radiotherapy Unit … Continue reading Hope is not optimism